We are surrounded by items, buildings, and even software that was designed one way or another. It tends to stick out when something is so poorly considered that we have to stop and wonder “what were they thinking?” Fortunately, most of the things around us conform to our expectations. A table is a table and a street sign is a street sign. 

However, every once and a while, creative people make a novel take on a conventional object. So scroll down and enjoy this list of innovative and cool ideas people have made into reality. And if this article doesn’t scratch your awesome design itch, check out Bored Panda’s other collections here, here, and here. And if you want something a bit different, check out our list of terrible designs here.  

#1 Shark Culling Laws Poster

Image credits: BlkShpp

#2 Convenient Simple Storage

Image credits: Brone9

#3 Park Bench With Built In Shelter For The Homeless

Image credits: rockhavenrick

If this list leaves you particularly inspired, maybe to make some changes around your own home, it can be helpful to approach an area holistically. Or, to put it another way, to have a comprehensive, unified plan. Keeping to the design tenants of a specific style can really help bring a space together and make it look more cohesive. Let’s take a look at Scandinavian design as an example. 

First and foremost, think about local, natural materials. We associate Scandinavian furniture and houses with wood, no doubt harvested in some primeval pine forests. But the core idea is to use local materials to establish a sense of place and style. This extends to building techniques as well, as most traditional architecture is firstly functional. French doors do not help insulate a house while thatched roofs are probably too warm for southern climates.

#4 The ~spooky Forest~ Chandelier

Image credits: Dr_Zol_Epstein_III

#5 Child Safety Awareness Ad

Image credits: Brone9

#6 The Jacket I Just Got Has Tiny Skulls As The Zipper

Image credits: LeSexyMemer

Scandinavian design also prioritizes functionality, which is often, subtly, emphasized by the use of neutral colors. Small wonder that the creators of Lego would approach furniture with an eye for practicality. Sometimes this does express itself as a sort of minimalism as one might see in an Ikea catalog. But there are myriad examples of more decorative or flashy items made by acclaimed Scandinavian designers that are also in keeping with the style’s core tenants.

#7 Paint Sample Cubes, Instead Of Flat Swatches, So You Can See The Colors With Shadows

Image credits: KevlarYarmulke

#8 Nicely Done, Barilla

Image credits: zhivojin

#9 “Wear A Seatbelt” Ad

Image credits: jacob_lian

Design has also changed over the last century, with new styles coming and going. For example, the iconic Empire State building still stands out today as an Art Deco skyscraper among a forest of glass buildings. This style itself was a reaction to Art Nouveau which had been so popular at the turn of the century. While less ornate, Art Deco tended to use expensive materials like gold, and furniture in the style would feature exotic leathers like sharkskin.

#10 Drunk Driving Ad By Hyundai

Image credits: dave69dave

#11 Oak Wood Imperial Staircase In Castel Savoia

Image credits: Dr_Zol_Epstein_III

#12 This IKEA Ad

Image credits: shxni

Modern design principles are less constrained by form and materials, so the guiding philosophy focuses more on the user. Sometimes this is referred to as literally user-centric design, though some will also call it human-scale design. The core idea is to make everything intuitive at a glance, even if you have never seen an object before. Maybe you are familiar with the design principles of Don Norman or at least the Norman door. Imagine a door with no handle, just a metal plate. Naturally, since you know it’s a door, it must move to let a person pass through. So with no handle, your only option left is to push.

#13 Shark Fin “Wet Floor” Caution Sign

Image credits: Dr_Zol_Epstein_III

#14 Any Love For Packaging Here? Very Thoughtful Hardware Package Design

Image credits: effinwhitey

#15 Was Told This Would Be Appreciated Here. Sooo Here Ya Go!

Image credits: sgabe1010

#16 Anti-Pollution Sign By A Lake In Evergreen, Colorado

Image credits: lalala850

#17 Ad For Superman Movie

Image credits: Brone9

#18 Book Benches, Bulgaria

Image credits: Pumuckl4Life

#19 This Teacher’s Wall Art

Image credits: JakeNatschke

#20 “Piece By Piece Alzheimer’s Takes Away The Memory”. Campaign For Alzheimer Forschung Initiative

Image credits: BlkShpp

#21 Colorful Glass Canopy In Sonoma, California. By: Olafur Eliasson And Architect Sebastian Behmann

Image credits: Arkitek_Yorkshire

#22 Jeep’s European Marketing

Image credits: EDIT_ID

#23 Newly Constructed ‘Danish Prison Cells’ Are Designed Better Than My Apartment

Image credits: Dr_Zol_Epstein_III

#24 Door Handles On A Theatre

Image credits: Killdestroy

#25 This Bar Has A Chilled Strip To Keep Your Drink Cold

Image credits: MMZane8

#26 Forget Abs Of Steel And Buns Of Steel. Get Abs Of Buns

Image credits: unbuggy

#27 My Vacuum Cleaner Filter Displays Taps When It’s Wet After Cleaning, So You Know When It’s Fully Dry

Image credits: MichaelCG8

#28 Translation: (Their) Love Slipped A Little Bit? No, This Is Violence (Anti Domestic Violence Poster)

Image credits: Stock_Quality_5523

#29 Clever Little Airline Logo From A Recent Flight

Image credits: petefromwetwang

#30 A Bar Of Soap That Gets Sad As It Approaches Its Demise

Image credits: wallflowerface

#31 This Ice Cream Poster

Image credits: nonexisting–

#32 Solution/Pollution French Sign

Image credits: Sakuyxio

#33 This Barcode That Looks Like A Waterfall

Image credits: retardednotretired

#34 Samsung’s Galaxy Flip Phone Advertisement At A Bus Stop In Belgium

Image credits: UnwantedJason

#35 Unusual Paint Brush Packaging

Image credits: Dr_Zol_Epstein_III

#36 Cd Package Design For Chinese Folk Rock Band 五条人

Image credits: UMEBA

#37 Very Clever Logo With A Double Message

Image credits: scientisttiger

#38 The Logo For A Band Called The Makepeace Brothers. I Always Thought It Was So Clever

Image credits: pertnear

#39 IKEA Advertisement

Image credits: Brone9

#40 House Of The Dragon Street Promotion

Image credits: EDIT_ID

#41 Business Card & Cockroach Trap

Image credits: Dr_Zol_Epstein_III

#42 Less Talking, More Listening

Image credits: xer0_1

#43 Logo For Lune Croissanterie – A Pâtisserie Specialising In Croissants

Image credits: whocanduncan

#44 These Room Numbers In My Hotel

Image credits: chai-knees

#45 Sink Drain Design At The Minneapolis Airport

Image credits: Jiganska

#46 Deadpool Knife Caddy

Image credits: Dr_Zol_Epstein_III

#47 This Bike Rack Shaped Like A Bike

Image credits: LikeTearsInRainScoob

#48 Minimal Clock Design

Image credits: Brone9

#49 Substation, Detail Of Cornice, Hans Heinrich Müller

Image credits: NoConsideration1777

#50 KV Bjørnøya, The Newest Vessel Being Built For The Norwegian Coast Guard

Image credits: iltifaat_yousuf

#51 The Logo Of A Place Called House Of Pie

#52 The Way This Harassing Ad Is Designed

#53 The Cover Of This Book

#54 Common Household Tools Disguised As Cute Animal Figures

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Author: Gabija Saveiskyte